Fitness

The way to exercise with young children: Involve them

Exercising with your children

There are many ways and options how to get your fitness or workout done while being a mom. The easiest way: you have scheduled “me” (alone) time and can afford a gym to get your regular fitness done. Me time can be before the kids wake or once they are asleep or anytime someone else looks after them for you.

The reality: you don’t have any free time from your children (for example being a single mum living far away from family), nor the money to pay for gym or babysitter and gym at same time. Also, when you are still waking up during the night for your children, who has the energy to get up earlier (which you never know when the nights over) or do the hard work before hitting the bed?! I m usually exhausted by the time kids are going to bed. I have respect to the mums who can do this. But if this reality sounds like yours…

…My solution:

Home workouts or outdoor workouts involving the children!

And this has multiple benefits for the whole family

You are getting your fitness done and your children are active with you (getting them away from screen time).

You are spending quality time together – doing something healthy.

You are having fun together (yes, heaps of fun).

You are representing a healthy and fit role model and your children will develop an interest in fitness as well.

How? It is actually easier than you think.

Best advice of all

Involve them as early as possible in your workouts. This way it will be NORMAL for your children. They grow up, knowing that this is a part of your routine.

You can let your baby watch you or include them in a baby carrier. As they get older, involve them in a fun way.

I have used a baby carrier wrap, something similar to this one. They are a great way to keep your child close to you. I prefer the wrap, because its flexible and its providing the best support for your child and your own back.

Young children are easy to entertain. Make some space in your home, put on some music (toddler tunes might be better than the usual workout music), sing and dance along for a warm up. While you all dance around like crazy, do some simple, basic, “no equipment” exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups and sit ups. They will eventually start to copy you and think it’s a social dance move.

As they get older, they will ask questions and you can start to explain them the correct technique and support their interest in fitness.

Be flexible and patient – have fun

Obviously, you have to be a little flexible and patient when you are doing your workout while the kids are around or totally involved. It will take a bit longer, but then it’s also the time you are spending together that makes it so worth it! It’s important to make it fun for you and the children. This way, you will continue with it and be consistent.

In being patient and flexible: You might not be able to do a 2 minute plank, because you just received extra weight on your back and you might only last 40 seconds then. But hey, this was a surprise progression test. Take it positive and go with it.

There are also other exercises that can be done involving equipment such as resistance bands or some light weights. In saying that though, use them in caution when your young children are around for their safety.

I like working out with resistance bands. There are so many great options to get the muscles activated. You can get a bundle of different resistance bands  and try out which ones suit you best for the exercise you want to complete. You can also get a dumbbells set for some more weight training. Its a good starter pack to have for home workouts.

You can get them their own kids fitness mat , kids plastic dumbbells , kids dumbbells that can be filled with water/sand or some pretend weights if they want to copy you while doing some more progressed workouts. These kids fitness mats have various kids prints options to choose from. There are lots of ways how to include them. I might get into this in another blog post. 

Hit the playground

If you want to change things up or the kids want to play on the playground, get into your best activewear and on the playground.

Choose a playground that gives you the opportunity to do some exercises. Some cities have playgrounds now that actually have fitness equipment there that uses your own body weight. Otherwise, usual no equipment exercises can be easily done at the playground. Most playgrounds are also fenced for the children’s safety.

You can do your home workouts outside at the playground or even in your own backyard on a nice beautiful day.

You don’t have to be ashamed to do an exercise in public. Believe me, other mums will be proud of you for doing so and it might open up for healthy conversations with other mums (developing friendships). And that’s why you wear your best active wear out.

Cardio? Get a jogging stroller and run

If you are more the cardio exercise kind of person, get a jogging stroller to strap in your children safely and start running. There are also options of jogging stroller with bike attachments – they are great forwhen you have more than one child to take on the run. They will also get used to this as a routine and get some fresh air with you. There are also park runs offered in most cities if you don’t want to run alone (although you already have company). When they are getting older, they might decide to run with you. Again, it’s about being flexible, patient and fun!

Otherwise, invest in a rowing machine or a bike. I wouldn’t suggest a treadmill with young children around. I decided to go for a rowing machine. Works the whole body and I found this to be the safest cardio equipment with my little ones around.

Personal trainer children

You children will also become your personal trainer! Yes, you heard that right. Apparently, they do know exercises that are “the best way” to be fit. They come up with great ideas and new exercises. Furthermore, they will push you to the limit.

“Mum one more, you can do this”

“Mum, you haven’t done your workout yet, let’s do it!”

Just an example of what I get to hear.

Support their interest

My daughter has developed an interest in Yoga (although I have never done yoga before). One day she stated: “mum, I learnt something too and I will show you: its Yogo” (she meant Yoga though).

I encourage her interest and got her a book with kids yoga poses to learn – just the very simple ones to get the fun going. If this progresses, I will have a look into yoga classes that are locally offered for her to take part in.

13 Comments

  • Anthea

    This is a very informative post. I love all the different ways to involve young children in exercise routine. It is something to be practiced especially in today’s world where we definitely do not get to exercise most times.

  • Bing Wu

    Agree! The biggest takeaway for me is to instill exercise as a common, normal activity for your kids. As you said, this can be as simple as them watching you. Obviously, it’s not really possible to do an intense workout with the kids, so I still try and have that time set aside between my wife and me. But, it’s so easy to do some weights or floor exercises at home or park that the kids can be involved with. We all need to have to have that classic experience of doing pushups and having your kid climb on your back 🙂

    • HealthyQueening

      Exactly! Well said! And yes, we all should go through experiencing them jumping on our back while be do a plank or push up haha

  • Sandi Schwartz

    Trisha, thanks for these great ideas to get our kids involved with our own exercise routine. The baby carrier idea is so smart–I also wrote about the benefits of taking children on hikes in a baby carrier. Another huge benefit is when we take them outside for some fresh air and Vitamin N (nature). It is so beneficial to both them and us. Thanks for the post!

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